Tag Archives: Echo Park

Gnarliness Reigns at the Echo and Echoplex

Classically trained Yale grad is the brains behind San Fermin’s breakout operation (yeah, see. you’ll never catch ‘em now coppers, see. yeah…)

A gnarly set of indie and garage rock waves will plunge into The Echoplex Tuesday October 15th, 2013 as the Jacuzzi Boys open with a tubular set downstairs (hangloose breh!). If it weren’t enough, that same night San Fermin will close upstairs at the The Echo with the chamber and orchestral indie-rock sound that they’ve become well known for. Here, listen to the NPR sound bites .

Florida Natives the Jacuzzi boys have come off of their self-titled third album release. With tunes like “Domino Moon” their set is sure to make a splash.

For more info on The Echo and Echoplex location and times check out their calendar here.

Icky? Not Hardly

Flashing lights? Indie pulses? and Wayfarer-wearing musical notes?? Yep, all these veiled the Echo, Friday September 27th, 2013, as .blow and Oh Boy Les Mecs opened for Icky Blossoms.

.blow are comprised of music industry musicians that have worked in areas such as production, recording, and writing. The four, vocalist Sohanny, beat conductor Prozak Morris, guitarist Mike Dez, and drummer D$, have signed with Interscope Records (one third of Santa Monica’s Universal Music Group) which manages Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Maroon 5, and Eminem. All of these big timers are seasoned performers but have already proven themselves whereas .blow (their ‘younger siblings’ if you will) are out to make a name for themselves, and they sure can make an impression.

The Ickys were anything but
The Ickys were anything but

Morris’s table, composed of computer and electronic equipment, is there looking  like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory desk. His plasma tube gives the impression that some musical experiment is about to take place (à la Danny Elfman’s “Weird Science”) as electricity stretches and branches throughout the glass encasement. Alas, there are no trumpet rips but the rhythm fiends nonetheless get the pot lid jumping. It’s easy to spot their 80’s influences (sorry no flock of seagulls hair-do’s). Think Talking Heads, The Cars, and Missing Persons.

Covering “No body walks in LA” to a tee, Sohanny sputters lyrics with her Rihanna-ish beauty and Keith Richards swagger. Morris and Dez bump and jive amping up the crowed (a definite wild rumpus if you’ve ever seen one). Out of nowhere Morris whoops out some electro-musical contraption (it’s alive, it’s dead, no it’s a beattar!! Or something you’d find in the music room at Hogwarts). A beat machine attached to a guitar neck for rockin’ stances and epic whirlwind strums (double takes allowed). They keep playing with this energy for a few more songs but fatigue begins to set in (much like any other mere mortals). You definitely get a rush from .blow’s performance but Oh Boy Les Mecs are there to catch the sway. They’re less rock ‘em sock ‘em and more stroll through the forest amidst twilight.

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.blow conditioned the room.

The singer’s echoes brood sentiments similar to what you get whilst listening to Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue”. Her voice at times sounds like Bjork–minus the impeccable vocal range. Their mood is haunted by Beach House and at the same time the vocalist’s style kind of reminds you of Zooey Deschanel from She and Him–wearing a white prairie dress. Their dreamscape backdrop works in general but it is tough to follow an act like .blow. Especially since their styles are so different. In light of this, they do well opening for the headliners from Nebraska.

Icky Blossom’s most recent self-titled album is the musical accolade that Bright Eyes and Beirut tried to accomplish with dance and electro in their later albums. It kicks out dismal dance jams that most indie bands are not able to do so easily, but they made it happen.

Lurid lights drop onto the murky stage. Sarah Boling’s baritone pipes and livid bangs infiltrate the crowd as she sings their ode to sacrilege “Sex to the Devil”. You look around to see people hypnotized by the backing synth-drum overlays and recursive electro bleeps of Derek Presnall and Nik Fackler. Everyone is rocking and swaying nonchalantly as they transition into “Babes”

In it you can hear the wonton strobiness of Peaches. Think of the scene from Lost in Translation where Scarlett Johansson is set to meet Bill Murray and friends at a Japanese strip club only to leave and later get shot at with an automatic bb gun flashing a green laser sight.

Their steady uptempo slightly reminds you of Neon Indian or Grimes (minus the falsetto feedback) but not quite. They blossom nicely with an added ick. Why DJ’s like DFA haven’t started remixing these boss gothic dance tunes is beyond me.

—Bosque Urbano

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About the author: Bosque Urbano is a creature of the night, flitting from club to club, scene to scene. His astute perceptions, musical and otherwise, stem from his vast store of human knowledge. It is rumored that he is so intelligent that he actually keeps a computer in his own home. His blog lives at christianaraya.com

Weekend Closes Out Echo’s Weekend. Or Begins the Next.

Head shakes, nods, and body jerks surfed The Echo on Sunday September 15th, 2013 as Cold Showers, Disappears, and Weekend played the heck out of everyone’s eardrums before the start of the week.

Weekend closes out the weekend at the Echo
Weekend closes out the weekend at the Echo

If there is anywhere to catch a legit indie show in the L.A. area it’s at The Echo in Echo Park. The city is more than just neighbor to the hipster capital of the world–Silver Lake (great hunting grounds by the way). It’s a broth of rich history as intellectuals and artists–Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck among them–were known to have resided there in the early 20th century.

It’s lake is home to the Lotus Festival, birthday parties, paddle boats, ducks, and frogs (oh my!). If you’re in the mood for a hoedown, The Grand Ole Echo opens its saloon doors for a fine hoot and holler. There is barbecue and sweet twang every Sunday from 5-9 p.m. for free.

That night’s country line-up included Taryn Stickwrath, Casey Neill & the Norway Rats, Chris Laterzo & Buffalo Robe, and the jammerific Gimme 5’s. Somewhere Hank Williams gave those guys a serious thumbs up. Their jam band super powers and Hammond B2 wunderkind can take you on a midsummer night stroll through New Orleans’ French Quarter whilst jasmine is in full bloom.

Not bad for a free show. The only minor drawback is that there’s an hour between The Grand Ole Echo and the main show line-ups. Fortunately, there are some places that are leap-frogging distance away.

Like f’r instance:

Origami Vinyl — The folks there are really nice. Their prowess, collection, and knowledge of music are genuinely diverse. It’s very easy for any audiophile to spend hours sifting through their soul, punk, locals, country, indie, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Rummage carefully though. Lest ye be experienced, you might end up with six-packs on your fingers and miss the show!

Two Boots Pizza — Very original and tasty slices. Also, they’re open until 2:30 p.m. Try “The Dude” slice, and you too will abide.

The Gold Room — Want to watch some sports, milk a drink, drink a milk, crack open some peanuts, and savor some tacos (yeah, all in that order!)? Try this happy-go-hipsterish bar. Ask for the Gold Room special, you’ll thank (or curse) me later.

Stories Books and Café — It’s is a hop-skip-and-gothic-twostep away, next to the Jensen building and across from Rodeo Grill. Check them out if you need to procure java or embalm some Edgar Allen Poe couplets in your poetic psyche. Try their iced mojito coffee (gyration alert level orange) and or raspberry lemon tart. Also, they have wifi (pronounced weefee).

Once you make your way back to The Echo you’ll notice the crowd for Part-time Punks is very chill. Most aren’t there to shake it like a Polaroid picture as much as they’re there to hang out, unwind, and get some noise. As things started up you could see people starting to make their way to the stage.

Cold Showers’ guitarist blasted some aura-oric arpeggios and chaotic strums into the crowd. Their vocalist channeled Ian Curtis’s doleful legattos. These young lads brung on the noise and put on a magnetic set. Definitely worth you catching ‘em. Don’t forget your earplugs!

Intermissions at The Echo are great because they have an outside area around the back where you can sit and get some air, you can hear when the next band is starting up, or notice how everyone is scurrying to get their spot.

Disappears had less noise but a much more polished sound. Think The Rolling Stones meets Krautrock meets crisp minimalism. Prevalent were the sharp sonic riffs that their recordings at legendary Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago spawned. Their act didn’t require that much audience participation or energy which was perfect because it was conserved for our headliners.

Weekend opened with “Mirror” from their second album Jinx which received good reviews from both Rolling Stone magazine and The New York Times. Frontman Shaun Durkan’s reverb and echoing words, “ I feel sick sick sick” resonated with the abrasive urgency of My Bloody Valentine. The song galvanized nostalgia with bittersweet euphoria like driving through downtown Los Angeles amidst skyscrapers as every moment stretches into a wormhole of long exposed lights.

When they played “July” you could hear the post-punk growl and rhythmically visceral similarity with their San Franciscan cohorts Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The feedback and acidious flange from guitarist Kevin Johnson suspended their brooding mood while the off-and-on fuzz from their bassist kept everyone’s head nods honed in. Abe Pedroza’s drums set a sinister beat for all of their more atomic tracks without ever breaking a sweat. Their overall cohesion shot right through the lo-fi plane of shoegaze and rained down like a meteor shower. Captivating, indeed.

—Bosque Urbano